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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Friday 2nd of Lent

1st Reading (Gen 37:3-4.12-13a.17b-28): Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic. When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem, Israel said to Joseph: «Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem. Get ready; I will send you to them». So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan. They noticed him from a distance, and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another: «Here comes that master dreamer!». Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams».

When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying: «We must not take his life. Instead of shedding blood», he continued, «just throw him into that cistern there in the desert; but do not kill him outright». His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father. So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the long tunic he had on; then they took him and threw him into the cistern, which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and resin to be taken down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers: «What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh». His brothers agreed. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
Responsorial Psalm: 104
R/. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the Lord called down a famine on the land and ruined the crop that sustained them, he sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave.

They had weighed him down with fetters, and he was bound with chains, till his prediction came to pass and the word of the Lord proved him true.

The king sent and released him, the ruler of the peoples set him free. He made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Jn 3:16): God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel text (Mt 21,33-43.45-46): Jesus said to the chief priests and elders, «Listen to another example: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, built a watchtower, leased the vineyard to tenants and then went to a distant country. When harvest time came, the land­owner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. But the ten­ants seized his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned another. Again the owner sent more servants, but they were treated in the same way. Finally, he sent his son, thinking: ‘They will respect my son’. But when the tenants saw the son, they thought: ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours’. So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?».

They said to him, «He will bring those evil to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others who will pay him in due time». And Jesus replied, «Have you never read what the Scriptures say?: ‘The stone which the build­ers rejected has become the keystone. This was the Lord's doing; and we marvel at it’. Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest».

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these parables, they realized that Jesus was referring to them. They would have arrested him, but they were afraid of the crowd who regarded him as a prophet.

«The stone which the build¬ers rejected has become the keystone»

Fr. Melcior QUEROL i Solà
(Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain)

Today, Jesus, with the parable of the homicidal tenants, speaks about the betrayal of trust; He compares the vineyard to the people of Israel and the wine growers to the chiefs of the chosen people. Them, and in them, all of Abraham's descendants, have been entrusted with the kingdom of God, but they have embezzled the heritage: «Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest» (Mt 21:43).

At the beginning of Matthew's Gospel, the Good News seems to be addressed only to the people of Israel. Already in the Old Covenant, the chosen people, had the mission of announcing and bringing salvation to all other nations. But Israel has been unfaithful to its mission. Jesus, the intermediate of the New Covenant, will gather around him the twelve Apostles, a symbol of the “new” Israel, called to yield a harvest of fruits of eternal life and to announce their salvation to all the other peoples.

This new Israel is the Church, all the baptized. We have received in the person of Jesus and in his message, a most unique gift we must make bear fruit. We cannot resign ourselves to an individualist and shortsighted experience of our faith; we must transmit it and give it to anyone who may come close. Hence, we can derive that the first fruit is to live our faith in the warmth of our family, that of the Christian community. That will be easy, «for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them» (Mt 18:20).

But ours is an open Christian community, that is, basically missionary (second fruit). Because of the strength and beauty of the Resurrected “in the midst of us”, the community is appealing in all its gestures and acts, and each one of its members has the capacity to beget men and women to the new life of the Resurrected. And a third fruit, is for us to live with the conviction and certitude that we can find in the Gospel the solution to all our problems.

Let's live in the saint Fear of God, lest the Kingdom of Heaven be taken from us and given to others.